According to Prostate Cancer UK, 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. It’s the most common cancer in males and accounts for 27% of all new cancer cases in males in the UK.
However, a poll by YouGov earlier this year found that two-thirds of men don’t know any of the symptoms of the cancer. While this falls somewhat among older males, it still remains very high with 62% of 50-59 year olds not knowing any of the symptoms of the cancer.
Of the recognised symptoms, the most common were having to, or feeling the need to urinate more frequently and difficulty urinating. Both of these are symptoms of prostate cancer but can also be indicators of other diseases.
The sneaky symptoms of prostate cancer that you might miss
According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms in the early stages and most prostate cancers start in the outer part of the prostate gland. This means that to cause symptoms, the cancer must be large enough to press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis, which is called the urethra.
While many people do think that urinary issues such as difficulty passing are due to prostate cancer, according to Cancer Research UK, they are very unlikely to be related to the disease and are instead likely to be caused by a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Instead, the sneaky signs of prostate cancer that you should be aware of are:
Back or bone pain that doesn’t go away with rest
Weight loss for no reason
Pain in the testicles
A loss of appetite
What to do if you think you have prostate cancer
According to the NHS, it’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer but a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition which include:
age – the risk rises as you get older, and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age
ethnic group – prostate cancer is more common in black men than in Asian men
family history – having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer before age 60 seems to increase your risk of developing it; research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer
obesity – recent research suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer, and a balanced diet and regular exercise may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer
diet – research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer, and there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer
There is no single definitive test for prostate cancer but if you suspect you have the disease, your GP will ask for a urine test to check for infection, take a blood sample and examine your prostate.
If you’re at risk you’ll be referred to the hospital for an MRI which may be followed by a biopsy to confirm the presence of the disease.
If you notice any changes whatsoever and especially if you’re at a higher risk of prostate cancer, make an appointment with your GP.